make sure that information relevant to those standards is conveyed at later stages in the selection process (e.g., the site visit). Even if the applicant does not look promising, collection of this information can be used strategically to determine whether the job or benefits should be redesigned to adapt to trends in applicants' preferences. For example, if applicants consistently mention that they are interested in jobs that help them build their skills, entry-level jobs can be redesigned to include rotation or training programs.
Finally, the unified approach to understanding job selection processes has several implications for the way organizations extend job offers to applicants. If an applicant appears to fit the job, and the job appears to "fit" the applicant, organizations should extend the job offer quickly. If the job option meets the applicant's standards and the applicant has no other offers pending, an early offer can increase the chances that the applicant will accept it. In contrast, if the applicant has several offers that meet her or his minimum standards, the final choice is likely to be idiosyncratic. Applicants will rely on information other than that used to screen job options. In this case, the organization should provide a variety of other kinds of positive information about the job to increase the odds that it will be accepted.
Managers often fail to consider job seekers' decision processes when developing recruitment and selection procedures. Tailoring these procedures to meet applicants' needs can be cost-effective and reduce the disruption of unnecessary turnover. Given the contradictions in existing theories, this oversight is perhaps understandable. Our hope is that by using an image theory framework, managers can gain insight into the way people look for and evaluate job opportunities. In an era of increased competition for skilled labor and shrinking budgets, this knowledge can lead to improved management of organizations' human resources.
Beach L. R. ( 1990). "Image theory: Decision making in personal and organizational contexts". Chichester, UK: Wiley.
Beach L. R. ( 1993). "Broadening the definition of decision making: The role of prechoice screening of options". Psychological Science, 4, 215-220.